Type of Spiritual Experience
Chloroquine is a 4-aminoquinoline drug used in the treatment or prevention of malaria. Popular drugs based on chloroquine phosphate (also called nivaquine) are Chloroquine FNA, Resochin and Dawaquin. Chloroquine was discovered in 1934 but ignored for a decade because it was considered too toxic for human use. It has long been used in the treatment or prevention of malaria, but its widespread use has led to the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum developing resistance to the drug.
Chloroquine is also a ‘lysosomotropic agent’, meaning that it accumulates preferentially in the lysosomes of cells in the body. The lysosomotropic character of chloroquine is believed to account for much of its anti-malarial activity; the drug concentrates in the acidic food vacuole of the parasite and interferes with essential processes.
At the doses used for prevention of malaria, side-effects include gastrointestinal problems, stomach ache, itch, headache, postural hypotension, nightmares and blurred vision, depression and anxiety. Chloroquine and related quinines have been associated with cases of retinal toxicity, particularly when provided at higher doses for longer time frames. Accumulation of the drug may result in deposits that can lead to blurred vision and blindness.
It is known to induce ‘psychotic behaviour’. Although the eHealthme web site has no cases, it has been widely reported on medical web sites presumably because it tends to be administered more outside the USA [where the ehealthme statistics originate]
A description of the experience
Chloroquine psychosis: a chemical psychosis? - Mohan D, Mohandas E, Rajat R.
Psychotic states are mimicked by the use of many drugs including amphetamines, cannabis, lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin, mescaline, isoniazid, and L-dopa. …..
The present communication reports a series of chloroquine-induced psychoses …. simulating affective illness, such as mania, mixed affective states, or depression. The psychosis disappeared after cessation of the drug, combined with or without the use of low dosage phenothiazines in excited patients. From our cases, two types of presentation of chloroquine psychosis could be seen:
psychic with clear sensorium, mood changes, alteration in motor activity, delusions, and hallucinations;
psycho-organic with clouded sensorium, disorientation, and fleeting hallucinations.
The precise nature of the mechanism of the psychosis is not clear...